Journey to Parenthood

Today is my son’s birthday. I’m SO happy, and we celebrated big this year with lots of his friends, doing all the things kids like to do. I was reflecting on how my feelings towards his birthday must vary compared to women who have carried and given birth to their child. For those moms, there is an emotional and physical memory. I can only imagine, like any great event in your life, the birth of their child must leave very clear memories. Very specific details that stick around, clear as yesterday. Could be the contractions, the movements, her body preparing to perform a great feat...so much happening.

As a couple, we’ve grieved not having our own birth story as part of our journey to parenthood but on our son’s birthday, the grief goes to his birth mom. For me this day included heading to a doctors appointment for a women I had only known for three weeks. Earlier that week we had gone to get our nails done together, with her daughter and mother, in an attempt to get to know each other more. I arrived at the doctors office and was told they were being moved to the birth center, she was going into labor. I called my husband, I was in shock. We were grieving the loss of another child just weeks before and here this woman was going to give birth to our potential son. Now.

Shock, fear, hope, love… He was born that evening and we held him in the first hour. When we walked in the room his name, our name, was written on the board. We were able to make decisions that would impact him for life. We held him and then we went to our own room for the night. We wouldn’t see him for almost another 24 hours. We’d hear him cry, we’d hear people visiting… we went home.

We came back the next day…. And again left with an empty car seat. Adoption isn’t a clean story. A few hours later we were told to come back to the hospital. To come ready. When we walked in his birth mom handed us all of his things and him. She gave us the sheet she had been noting his feedings on, the clothes she brought for him, the blankets her family had made. She walked out with us, discharged from the hospital, after carrying a human for nine months she was going home, while not alone, definitely without the extra heartbeat inside her. Without him in her arms.

I don’t know what makes the weight of this hit me the hardest. Is it because of the grief process I’ve gone through, wanting the experience of holding a heartbeat, making a genetic mini of my husband and myself or if I just love him so much that I grieve for her. Either way, on this day, while I celebrate his birth, I always cry for her loss.